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April 4, 2008
Bails don't budge
The last ball of the 70th over had an otherwise resolute Jacques Kallis in a spot of bother. Harbhajan Singh, with a 6-3 leg-side field, got one to turn and spit up from outside off stump and Kallis stayed back to uneasily fend it off. What followed drew loud gasps from all who saw it. The ball struck Kallis' glove, rolled onto the stumps and actually made contact. The bails, however, stuck to the grooves and remained intact. The next time the ball deflected off Kallis' bat the bails did come off, but by that time he'd helped himself to 132.
India's fielding on day two was pretty ordinary, but there were moments when it appeared they didn't care. On two occasions between lunch and tea, the fielder at cover collected the ball and passed it to mid-off, as is customary, who proceeded to throw it towards the bowler - and miss the man altogether. The first occasion it was Irfan Pathan on the receiving end, who'd already seen a needless throw give up three runs, and on the second it was Sreesanth, walking back to his mark, who almost ducked as a lob went over his head. These were elementary errors that many school coaches would have sent their wards for laps of the ground for.
AB de Villiers has played some energetic innings in one-day cricket and while batting on 98 he pulled out a typical ODI shot to reach three figures. Clearly itching to get to the mark - he tried to hit one down the ground the over before - he walked right across his stumps and paddled Sourav Ganguly from outside off down to fine leg. That shot has became rather en vogue, and de Villiers pulled it off like true pro.
A four-storey shot
de Villiers scored a brilliant century against West Indies in last year's World Cup, virtually on one leg, and today he raised his highest Test score with a shot off one leg. Skipping down the track to Harbhajan, he was beaten in flight but went through with his almighty heave, falling over and landing on his back. While de Villiers lay there in a heap, and the Indians craned their necks as the ball made its way onto the deep midwicket roof. That ball travelled at least 100 metres. It was a shot that would have made Rohan Kanhai and Denis Compton proud.
No, this is how you do it
As people looked up and wondered how to get that ball down from the roof, thankfully one of the manual scorers, already on the roof skipped across the tiles and threw the ball back onto the field. It was a fine throw to the bowler's end, right in the line of the stumps before Pathan intercepted it with one hand. It was the best throw all day. This kid could be the news channels' colour story of the day.
Harbhajan was clearly the most animated player on the field and at the start of the 130th over he caught a bump ball off de Villiers and had the crowd excited by pretending to celebrate the dismissal. Spurred by the spectators' response, Harbhajan repeated his act in the next ball. More drama from him four overs later when Sourav Ganguly failed to back up to stop five overthrows off his bowling. Harbhajan, peeved at such incompetence, gave Ganguly an earful.
Plays of the Day from second ODI between South Africa and Pakistan, in Port Elizabeth